Keeping your income property safe is important for more than just your tenants. Preventing disasters such as fires can protect your rental home from damage and ensure your investment continues to run smoothly.
Fires are more common than many landlords realize. Even a small fire can result in significant property damage, while larger fires can result in loss of rental income, injury, and even death.
There are many potential fire hazards in an income property. The kitchen is the most common place fires start, but heating equipment, electrical outlets, and even lightning can all result in a fire.
It’s essential to keep your property as safe as possible when it comes to fire hazards—so how can you improve fire safety? Here are our top tips for DC landlords to strengthen the fire safety of their income properties.
Have the Proper Amount of Smoke Detectors in Your Rental Property
DC law requires homes to have a smoke detector on every floor and in each room used for sleeping. There also needs to be a smoke detector on the ceiling or wall outside of each sleeping area.
Therefore, the number of smoke detectors each property needs will vary. You may need dozens of smoke detectors if you have a large multi-unit building, whereas a smaller single-family home may only need a few.
In addition, all smoke detectors in a dwelling should be interconnected, meaning if one alarm sounds, all the alarms should go off.
Having the proper amount of smoke detectors can improve fire safety by notifying residents of smoke, potentially even before a fire starts. You can further enhance fire safety by testing and replacing smoke alarms as needed. Alarms should be tested monthly and replaced every 10 years.
Install Sprinklers to Prevent the Spread of Fire
Depending on the size and occupancy of your income property, DC law may require you to have a sprinkler system. Sprinkler systems are one of the most effective ways to help prevent the spread of fire and improve fire safety.
However, even if you are not required to have a sprinkler system, it may be worth adding one to your property, depending on your building’s particular risk for a fire. Sprinklers can quickly control a fire, prevent significant damage to your property, and save lives.
Create and Maintain a Fire Escape Route or Plan
Being proactive about fire safety with an escape route can save lives. Create and maintain a fire escape route or plan for your tenants. You can review this with your tenants and have it available for them in the unit, as part of the lease paperwork, or even for viewing online.
A fire escape plan should include two potential exits for each room in the house. Be sure the exit doors and windows open easily to ensure a fast exit in the event of a fire—in some cases, residents only have a minute or two to escape a burning building.
Establish Rules for Fire Safety in Your Lease
Your income property’s lease should include rules that support fire safety. Among others, these rules should include the following:
- No smoking inside the building
- Always supervise cooking elements
- Proper use of space heaters or other heating equipment
- Never leave a burning candle unattended or near flammable items
- Proper use of electrical outlets and equipment
Review these rules with your tenants and have them available for their review as well. If your tenants renew their lease, this is a good time to revisit the rules and fire safety protocol.
Let Us Assist You With Your DC Rental Property
No property is completely safe from a fire, but by following the above tips, you can keep your DC rental property more protected. Contact FAS Management today at (202) 337-5080 to learn more about how we conduct fire safety protocols for the income properties we manage in the nation’s capital.